Stage One: Oberstdorf Germany to Hirschegg Austria
27km / 1806 ascent / 1497 descent
We had a late start in Oberstdorf... 11am the official gun went off to mark the start of the 7th annual Gore-Tex Transalpine Run. It was a very hot day and I was so surprised to see how humid it was. It reminded me of the stage race Trent and I did in Thailand in 2005. I had planned to take Hammer Nutrition Endurolytes and Anti-Fatigue capsules every hour during each stage. These came in handy with temps and humidity like we experienced already on day one.
The stage rolled out on pavement through town. Cow bells were rung and the locals were lined along the street cheering us on. The first portion of the run was flat to undulating and had a few small climbs before hitting the first aid station and then proceeded with a huge single track climb out of the alpine and into the back country. Sarah and I had a very simple game plan for the race. Conserve the first 4 days, reassess on our 'rest day' and then see what we had left to finish with. So the first day was paced out easy and we just settled into making it fun and no pressure.
It was cute, a runner from Germany asked Sarah if we lived in the part of Canada where you can catch Salmon with your hands. Of course, Sarah went into the 10 step process and these two talked 'salmon catching' for the next 5 minutes along the trail. Sarah and I were cruising along and having a steady first day and both feeling great. Unfortunately, Sarah got taken out by someone on the first descent and she shit the bed from there. I felt so bad for her! Her stomach was off, her heart rate was high, so we just walked and jogged when she could. We still had another climb/traverse, big descent and then about a 1000 foot switchback climb before our final descent for the day. I think it was about 2hrs 45min into the stage when Sarah had her fall and she endured 2hrs of suffering after that point. I just tried to support her and stuck by her side until we crossed the finish line, talking her through it and trying to motivate her. She did a great job on pushing through it and although we finished with a slower time than expected, it marked a strong start to our partnership. We just had to work on putting the first day behind us and focus on the next day because it would be the longest day of the whole race. It was about recovering and resting. Trent and Carter had our recovery drinks ready. Change of clothes. The ice baths scooped out and drove us to our beautiful guesthouse after the stage.
They handed us sausage at the finish line and there was a spread of beer, drinks, pastry, cheese and more! We soaked our legs, ate some food and then went back to our guesthouse to rest before the pasta party. Every night they have a pasta party where we get fed so much amazing food, they hand out leaders jerseys and do the race briefing for the following day. They also show a slideshow of photos and videos from each stage.